Gevo to acquire 21 Mgy ethanol plant in MN; conversion to isobutanol will complete by Q1 2012

August 10, 2010 |

In Minnesota, Gevo announced it has agreed to acquire the 21 Mgy Agri-Energy ethanol plant in Luverne, and will commence mechanical retrofitting of the plant   to produce isobutanol. The company said that during most of the retrofit process, the facility will continue to produce ethanol, and that the conversion will be complete by Q1 2012.

Gevo has developed a proprietary process designed to fit into current ethanol production facilities. The process also enables the production of isobutanol from numerous renewable feedstocks including corn, wheat, sorghum, barley, sugar cane and cellulosic feedstocks when biomass conversion becomes commercially available.

Gevo’s integrated fermentation technology (platform consists of two components: a yeast biocatalyst and a separations technology unit that bolts into existing ethanol plants. Isobutanol can be used directly as a solvent and converted to isobutylene, the raw material for plastics and fibers. Gevo believes its isobutanol will provide a route to the renewable production of rubber, polypropylene, polystyrene, and PET. Isobutanol can also be used directly as a gasoline blendstock.

Based on the Digest’s previous analysis of biobutanol conversions, the plant could be expected to produce up to 16 Mgy of biobutanol in its current configuration. Biobutanol can replace up to 16 percent of gasoline, and thereby displaces almost twice as much gasoline as ethanol, in a blending scenario.

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